Lift-off of ExoMars mission to find life on Red Planet

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A Proton-M rocket carrying the ExoMars 2016 spacecraft blasts off from the launch pad at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome.

Objectives:
  • to search for possible biosignatures of Martian life, past or present.
  • to characterize the water and geochemical distribution as a function of depth in the shallow subsurface.
  • to study the surface environment and identify hazards to future manned missions to Mars.
  • to investigate the planet's subsurface and deep interior to better understand the evolution and habitability of Mars.
  • achieve incremental steps ultimately culminating in a sample return flight.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Is this the first mission ever to attempt to detect evidence of microscopic life on Mars?
 
  • #3
And what are the betting odds that this mission will discover any microbial life on Mars?
 
  • #4
34,836
11,008
Every mission to Mars hopes to find some signs of life.

The orbiter can find many interesting things, but I don't think any possible measurement would be an unambiguous proof of life on Mars, even if there is life. It could tell us where to look, however.
 
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